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Compare ‘Shall Icompare thee to a summer’s day?’ by W. Shakespeare, ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’ by E. Barrett Browning, and ‘Sonnet’ by Drayton - Which of the three sonnets made the strongest impression o

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Compare 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?' by W. Shakespeare, 'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways' by E. Barrett Browning, and 'Sonnet' by Drayton. Which of the three sonnets made the strongest impression on you? Explain your preference. All three of the sonnets are love poems. They are all dramatic monologues in which a poet apparently addresses a person he/she loves. Both Drayton and Shakespeare wrote Shakespearian sonnets whereas E Barrett Browning chose to write a Petrarchan sonnet. Drayton and Shakespeare also include a reversal of meaning in their sonnets but E Barrett Browning has no reversal. Shakespeare and E Barrett Browning also consider that love relates to time and think about the immortality of love. E Barrett Browning's Petrarchan sonnet is unconventional as it is written by a lady to a man. It's also unconventional because it is sincere and has no Volta which emphasizes the authenticity of her love to her husband. On the other hand Drayton and Shakespeare's sonnets are conventional and conform to the structure of a typical sonnet. They both start with one meaning and then cleverly change to another. Another similarity between Shakespeare and Drayton's sonnets is that they use a great deal of elaborate imagery. Yet E Barrett Browning uses direct and tender language and very little imagery. ...read more.


He also very formally addresses the lady as 'you'. Then definite formal parting is suggested; "Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows" and he urges her to make a break. Then the sonnet seems to change meaning and be at an elaborate death bed scene. Love, passion, faith and innocence are all given human characteristics; "Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath, When his pulse is failing, Passion speechless lies, When Faith is kneeling by his bed of Death, And Innocence is closing up his eyes". The use of capital letters for 'Love' 'Passion' 'Faith' and 'Innocence' also suggests that they are people. The last rhyming couplet is a clever paradox which in fact is the real Volta of the Sonnet makes an intimate appeal to breath life back into their love; "Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over, From death to Life, thou might'st him yet recover." He now addresses the lady as 'thou' which suggest intimacy. The final sonnet 'Sonnet 93' by E. Barrett Browning is almost totally different to the other two sonnets by Shakespeare and Drayton. This sonnet is unconventional as it is a sincere love poem from a woman to man rather than man to woman. It doesn't include a Volta so it suggests consistency of the love. ...read more.


E. Barrett Browning doesn't use a Volta in her sonnet as she wants to show her love is continuous and eternal which is a contrast from the other two poems. All three sonnets appear to be about love but all show different meanings. Shakespeare's sonnet seems to be about a true physical attraction to a lady and how her beauty is eternal when in fact he is really saying the beauty of his words are eternal. On the other hand Drayton's sonnet appears to be about a dying woman when in fact it's about a fading love desperate for love to be breathed into it. Finally E. Barrett Browning's sonnet is totally sincere and includes no reversal of meaning. The sonnets also have different forms and language. Shakespeare and Drayton both write a Shakespearian sonnet with complicated and elaborate language whereas E. Barrett Browning uses a Petrarchan form with simple language. Another resemblance is that E. Barrett Browning and Shakespeare consider love relates to time. The most obvious contrast is that Drayton and Shakespeare both use a Volta whereas E. Barrett Browning doesn't. Although I liked the clever, witty changes of meaning in the sonnets by Shakespeare and Drayton my favored sonnet would have to be 'Sonnet 93' by E. Barrett Browning. I liked it because of the sincerity of her love to her husband. I think when reading and understanding the sonnet the reader is emotionally touched by the strong feelings such simple words can put across. Samantha Pennington ...read more.

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